Undefeated USC Sets Up For Doubleheader
Sept. 28, 2006
THIS WEEK: It's been almost a full year since USC lost a game, and the Trojans square off against that same last team to beat them when they face Pepperdine in a nonconference game at noon on Saturday (Sept. 30) at McDonald's Swim Stadium. USC has won 26 straight games since that early 2005 loss, and the Trojans put that streak on the line against the Waves before turning around and playing Pomona-Pitzer at 1:30 p.m. to finish off Saturday's doubleheader.
RANKINGS: The Trojans (7-0, 1-0 MPSF) are enjoying their second straight week as the nation's top-ranked team after spending three weeks at No. 2. USC spent the last seven weeks of 2005 as the top-ranked team but was displaced in 2006 by California before beating the Bears to win the Northern California Tournament. Pepperdine (4-5) is ranked No. 13, and Pomona-Pitzer (4-7) is unranked.
WEEKEND RECAP: The Trojans outlasted a stubborn Long Beach State squad that hung around through the first half of play to eventually post a 12-7 win in USC's MPSF opener last week. USC led 6-5 at the half, but put the host 49ers out of reach with three unanswered goals in the third period and then extended that lead to 12-6 before Long Beach State slipped in a late score to end it at 12-7. Thomas Hale led the Trojans with three goals, and Jovan Vranes, Juan Delgadillo and Justin Rappel each added two goals. Freshmen J.W. Krumpholz, Matt Sagehorn and Jordan Thompson also scored in the game, with Thompson's strike marking his first career goal at Troy. USC followed up that day's action with their Alumni Game on Sunday, bringing members of all three national championship teams and more to the McDonald's Swim Stadium. The 2006 Trojans held off a late comeback attempt by the Alumni to win 11-8, led by three goals apiece from Krumpholz and Gabor Sarusi. Leading the scoring for the Alumni was Cameron Kaiser with four goals. Current assistant coach Marko Pintaric also added a score for the alums, along with 2005 Cutino Award winner Juraj Zatovic, Jordan Hewko and Nick Andrejich.
PEPPERDINE NOTES: No. 13 Pepperdine didn't play last weekend, bringing a 4-5 overall record into Saturday's game. The Waves' last competition was at the NorCal Tournament, where they won just one game -- a 14-8 win over Princeton. Pepperdine's three losses at the tourney were to UC Davis (10-9), UC Santa Barbara (13-6) and UC Irvine (10-8). Freshman JP MacDonnell is Pepperdine's leading scorer with 19 goals.
TROJANS-WAVES RIVALRY: USC is 46-19-2 all-time against Pepperdine, but the Waves can boast being the last team to beat the Trojans. Pepperdine clipped USC 5-4 on a late-game penalty shot during a nonconference match on Oct. 1, 2005, just before the Trojans mounted their streak to the NCAA Championship and beyond.
POMONA NOTES: Pomona won three straight games at the Cal Baptist Invitational last weekend to improve to 4-7 on the year. The Sagehens beat Mt. SAC (20-8), Golden West (10-9) and Cal Baptist (11-10). The Western Water Polo Association squad was led by Tim Brown's 11 goals at the tournament.
TROJANS-SAGEHENS RIVALRY: USC has faced Pomona-Pitzer just once, posting an 18-4 win over the Sagehens on Oct. 16, 2004.
DELGADILLO GETS IT DONE: For the second time in his Trojan career, senior driver Juan Delgadillo has earned the honor of MPSF Player of the Week. Delgadillo scored in each game of the Northern California Tournament, finishing the weekend with a team-high 10 goals. His three-goal performance in the championship game against Cal helped USC secure back-to-back NorCal Tournament titles with a 10-7 win over the Bears.
THE FRESHMAN 17: At the NorCal Tournament, four USC freshmen combined for 17 goals to help the Trojans to their second straight NorCal crown. J.W. Krumpholz led the charge with seven goals, joined by four apiece from Matt Sagehorn and Justin Rappel and two from Anthony Artukovich.
ADD `EM UP: Junior goalie Adam Shilling has proved himself a wall in the cage again this season. He tallied a season-high 10 saves in the NorCal championship game against Cal to help the Trojans to a 10-7 win. He finished the tourney with 22 saves in three games, and has since ballooned his season total to 34 saves with a goals-against average of 4.17 and saves average of 5.7.
THE REAL SOCAL: USC will play host to the competitive Southern California Tournament this season. The tournament has bounced around between various Southern California universities, and settles this year in the home waters of USC. All nine MPSF squads will be joined by seven other top teams from around the country for the 2006 edition of the esteemed SoCal Tournament. The action is set for Oct. 14-15 in Los Angeles.
ON LOCKDOWN: USC has averaged just over one goal against each period in its first seven games of 2006, pinning up solid scores to outweigh opponents 86-33 in the early goings of the season. USC was No. 1 in the nation in team defense last year, averaging 5.0 goals against per game, and the Trojans are second in the nation so far this year with 4.71 goals allowed per game.
FULL ARSENAL: The Trojans have an offensive balance this season that has the glaring ability to swamp opponents. Already this season, USC has maxed out with 10 different scorers in a 13-1 win over LMU at the NorCal Tournament. Even in USC's lowest scoring outing -- a 7-6 win over UCLA -- the Trojans had five players get on the board. The widespread scoring started early and is likely to remain heated as a grand total of 15 Trojans have already found their ways to the back of the net during USC's first seven games.
THIRD TIME'S A CHARM?: Two Trojan seniors have now claimed two national championships at USC, and are ademately seeking a third. Seniors Thomas Hale and Juan Delgadillo both had a strong hand in the 2003 and 2005 titles. Head coach Jovan Vavic has led the Trojans to the national title three times now (1998, 2003, 2005). Assistant coaches Marko Pintaric and Peter Janov also were both members of that 1998 national champion team.
GETTING STREAKY: USC ended the 2005 season on a 19-game winning streak to set a new record for the longest win streak in program history. The Trojans' MPSF championship victory extended their streak to 17 straight games, tying a win streak that spanned the 2003 and 2004 seasons. The streak is now 26 wins long.
2006 PREVIEW: USC head coach Jovan Vavic, the 2005 National and MPSF Coach of the Year, has hauled in an eye-popping crop of fresh talent for the coming year in an effort to bolster the Trojan roster as USC goes in pursuit of back-to-back NCAA and MPSF titles. Eleven new players -- nine newcomers and four former redshirts -- cap up for USC this year, ready to see their first action in the pool as Trojans. Five incoming athletes traveled overseas during the summer as members of the U.S. Junior National Team, including Senior National Team player J.W. Krumpholz. The Trojans are led this year by three highly respected standout seniors, Juan Delgadillo, Thomas Hale and Pavol Valovic. Balance and depth will be prominent for the 2006 USC squad, and the cage will be manned once again by junior NCAA Co-MVP Adam Shilling.
2005 RECAP: USC finished the 2005 season with a program-best 26-1 record and a record 19-game winning streak after beating Stanford 3-2 in the lowest-scoring NCAA championship game in history. The win marked the USC men's program's third NCAA title. En route to the national crown, USC won the two regular-season tournament titles (NorCal and SoCal tournaments) as well as the MPSF Tournament after an undefeated run through the regular conference season. USC's lone loss of 2005 was a 5-4 loss to Pepperdine during nonconference play.
HOME POOL DOMINATION: USC posted a flawless 2005 record in the waters of McDonald's Swim Stadium. Capping off the season as the tournament host to the MPSF Tournament, USC had some home-pool advantage to go along with that hefty winning streak. The Trojans finished off 2005 with a 9-0 record at home, and they are 1-0 at home so far this year.
VAVIC ON DECK: Head coach Jovan Vavic, one of the top water polo coaches in the country, serves a dual role as the head coach of both the USC men's and women's teams and has led both to national championships twice in the same school year (the men in 1998 and 2003 and the women in 1999 and 2004). Now in his 12th season at the helm of the men's program, Vavic has improved his career coaching record on the men's side to 239-52 (.821) after leading the Trojans to their third-ever NCAA Championship and a program-best 26-1 record in 2005. In his tenure as men's head coach, Vavic boasts a winning record against all opponents on the men's side of the game, recording only two losses in 11 seasons against teams outside the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. He is 176-50 against MPSF teams since 1995. For his success in guiding USC to the NCAA crown in 2005, Vavic was named the AWPCA Men's Coach of the Year. His Trojans also claimed the 2005 MPSF Championship, and Vavic earned himself MPSF Coach of the Year honors as well. At 26-1, USC posted its most wins in history and broke another record by closing out the year on an 19-game winning streak.